Loveable? Yes. Furry? Of course! Worth it? Totally.
Most dog and cat lovers would agree that the benefits of having a friend for life far outweigh the fleeting joy of an immaculate house. Still, it can be frustrating to come home to a mess left by a bored dog or find your best interview suit covered in cat hair. We love our pets, but they can sometimes make it hard to make that great first impression.
What if we told you that you can enjoy your furry friend and have a clean house, too? It’s definitely doable. Try these simple tips to keep your house clean and fur-free, and you can enjoy cuddle time with your best buddies without reaching for the vacuum or mop.
Pet-Proof Your Pad
You know that old adage about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure? In the case of your pets, it’s definitely true. Taking the time to pet-proof your home will keep curious pups and kittens from getting into rooms with breakable items, knocking things off shelves, or otherwise wreaking havoc on your favorite things. If you didn’t already puppy-proof when you first brought your pet home, take the time now to make sure loose items are kept off the floor and anything tail-height on the coffee table or low shelves is moved to higher ground. If you have a cat, keep breakables behind cupboard doors or in rooms that you can close off when you’re not at home.
Groom Your Pet Regularly
Both dogs and cats benefit from a regular brushing, and the more often you do it, the more your buddy will get used to the idea. Whisking over your pet with a good brush will pick up a lot of hair that would otherwise end up on your furniture and rugs, and you get to spend some quality time together to boot. For cats, a good slicker brush removes a lot of excess hair; the Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush has retractable pins that make it a snap to dispose of the unwanted hair. For dogs, the Kong Zoom Groom works on all coat types and acts like a magnet to attract loose fur. It’s also great for using in the bath!
Cover Your Furniture
No one’s suggesting that you wrap your furniture in clear plastic like at Grandma’s house, but it makes sense to put down an old sheet or towel in your pet’s favorite napping spot to keep hair and dirt from ruining your furniture and carpets. For a more tailored look, consider investing in a soft suede pet throw sofa cover, like the ones available at Brookstone. When guests are due to arrive, just toss the covers into the washing machine, do a quick once-over with the vacuum, and you’re ready to go!
Prevent Scratch Marks
Cats love to scratch to keep those claws sharp, and an exuberant dog may scratch at the door to be let outside. These innate behaviors can turn your once-beautiful furniture legs, doors, and wood trim into a shredded mess, though. For dogs, the best prevention comes with training: Teach a new behavior to get your attention to go outside. You can try hanging a bell near the door and reward the ringing by letting your dog out until he learns the new signal. For cats, provide plenty of approved scratching posts or bowls.
You can also try Soft Paws for both dogs and cats. These rubberized tips cover your pet’s claws so they can’t mark up your belongings with scratch marks. They come in an array of cute colors and styles, and giving your pet a fun mani-pedi definitely beats the painful practice of de-clawing them. To find out more about why you should skip de-clawing your cat, check out The Paw Project — it’s an eye-opener!
Keep Pet Food Where It Belongs
Sure, it can be fun to share a meal with your best buddy, but if you feed your dog or cat snacks and little treats all over the house, you’re going to find crumbs everywhere. It’s a much better idea to confine pet food and treats to the kitchen, where you can easily clean up spills from the hard flooring. If you have to keep your pal’s food dishes on a carpeted surface, put down an easy-to-clean placemat first — the bigger the better! Wipe it down regularly, and you’ll keep the doggie diner or kitty cafe looking sharp, and you’ll avoid attracting insects and other pets looking for a free meal of leftover crumbs.
Clean Pet Stains Right Away
No one likes to mop up pet urine, but the sooner you do it, the less likely it will be to cause permanent damage to your floors. To clean up urine from an accident, soak up the excess with newspaper and paper towels. Rinse with clean water and continue to blot, lifting up the rug and blotting from both sides if possible. Use an odor neutralizer like Amazing Solutions (or white vinegar, in a pinch) to get rid of the odor — an important step to keep your pet from seeking out that area to use in the future.
Wipe Down Muddy Paws After a Walk
Outdoor cats and dogs can track in a lot of dirt when their adventures are done for the day, especially on rainy days when muddy paws are the norm. Invest in a Spotless Dog Paw Cleaning Glove and keep it near the door you use most often with your pet. When you bring your pet inside, take a moment to put on the glove and wipe each paw before allowing him to go any further. Though it will take a couple weeks to get the habit fully ingrained in your — and your pet’s — mind, it’s well worth the effort to cut down on the amount of dirty paw prints in your home.
Protect Your Wardrobe
Keeping your clothes free from pet hair is an ongoing challenge. You’ll have better luck if you don’t allow your pup or cat into your bedroom, where their hair will get onto your clothing before you even put it on in the morning. If you can’t imagine banishing your buddy from bedtime snuggles, invest in several sticky lint rollers and keep one in your closet and one in your car. The Evercare Extra Sticky 60 Layer Lint Roller is a good choice and is refillable.
With a little bit of prevention, the right products, and some judiciously applied elbow grease, you can keep your house clean while still lovin’ the stuffin’ out of your furry pets. Adding these tips to your regular cleaning routine should help you keep things under control easily so you can go back to playing with your cuddly friend.